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Care improves when language is shared.

Patients receive better care when they and their providers speak the same language, according to a study in the November-December issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

The study looked at health care quality perceptions among foreign-born Hispanics and used national probability sample data from telephone interviews. The three main care outcomes studied were self-reports of confusion, frustration and perception of poor quality of care received because of English-speaking ability. Those surveyed also were asked to rate overall quality of care.

The study found when care providers spoke the same language as patients, there was a lower likelihood of confusion, frustration and language-related poor quality ratings as well as higher overall quality of care ratings. How well the patients spoke English was not significantly linked to the three care outcomes and only marginally linked with overall quality care ratings.

"Our findings indicate that although patients' language proficiency is important to health care quality ratings, what may matter more is when patient and provider speak the same language," the study's authors wrote. They pointed out that while Hispanics represent more than 15 percent of the U.S. population, they represent only about 5 percent of the U.S. physician work force.
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Title Annotation:HEALTH FINDINGS: The latest public health studies and research
Author:Currie, Donya
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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